Freeway Firearm Law Applies to Pedestrians, Appeals Court Rules

Associated Press

A state law prompted by Southern California freeway shootings, which made it a felony to point a gun at someone in a motor vehicle, applies to pedestrians, a state appeals court ruled Friday.

The 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of an off-duty Ontario policeman for pointing a gun at a driver who had followed the officer's truck and later allegedly tried to run down the officer's friend.

The officer, Sean Derek Miller, argued that the law did not apply to him because he was not in a car. But the court, in a 3-0 ruling, said the law applies to pedestrians.

The case dates to December, 1989, when a woman whom Miller had tried to date mistook his pickup truck for that of a former boyfriend who had threatened her. The court said the woman told a male companion about the threat, and he and his brother followed Miller.

A confrontation ensued in which Miller, with his gun drawn, approached one of the men. The man drove off and then tried to run down Miller's friend, who was standing in the street. Miller fired 13 shots, hitting a tire on the man's car. Tests showed that Miller was drunk, the court said.

Miller was convicted on two counts of violating the weapons law and on one count of drunk driving.

He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, fined $1,007 and placed on three years' probation by San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Lewis Liesch.

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